A while ago, I started looking at those players on the Reds who figured to be around for a bit. Then I got distracted. Now I’m back to it with Todd Frazier.
We all fell in love with Frazier during his 2012 run, but I think most of us knew he was a bit over his head. Last year the reverse. While the Toddfather played excellent defense, he didn’t hit nearly as well. His OPS fell by 108 points. That’s a big drop. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but that didn’t make it easier to bear.
Brag isn’t the right word for what I’m about to do, because I wish I’d been wrong, but I did call the Frazier decline. His numbers just didn’t fit with his peripherals. That said, I do think the fall was a little further than it should have been. He’s not the 2012 Frazier, but neither is he the 2013 Frazier.
The point of these articles is to look long term, so let me just state that, for now, the Reds are fine with Frazier. Depending on who you listen to, Frazier is a 2.5-3.5 WAR player. He is also entering his age-28 season, so he’s right at his peak. The Reds have guaranteed control of Frazier for four more years. So what might his performance look like going forward?
Frazier is a solidly above average player. His offense should rebound a bit this season and he likely won’t lost much value between now and free-agency. Given the new market we’ve seen this winter, it’s likely that Frazier will be a decent bargain for all of the time he is under team control.
However, Frazier is a perfect example of the kind of player who should be kept for his first six years and then kindly thanked for his service and sent on his way when he reaches free agency. The important thing to realize is that baseball players very rarely improve in their late-20s. He is what he is. Those wild swings aren’t going away. He’s a good player, but don’t fool yourself into thinking he’s going to be the exception. Still, he’s a very good option at third for the next four years.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.